Public hearing on 1,400 unit development (May 9, 2013)
Development unrelated but may gain from Baxter halo (Nov. 30, 2013)
'Shining jewel' of The Y to anchor Conyers development (June 25, 2012)
Four A Village and market lofts rezoning approved (Feb. 20, 2010)
A proposed 308-acre, mixed-use development remains on the drawing board after city officials once again declined to vote on the rezoning request necessary for developers to break ground.
Conyers city council members have twice tabled a decision that would allow a live, work, play community with 1,451 residential units and 505,500 square feet of commercial space on the property situated between Iris Drive, Johnson Road and Flat Shoals Road. On Wednesday the council deferred a vote on the Four A International zoning application until the council’s July 17 meeting in order to ensure the ordinance to rezone the property allows the city to control the rate of development to ensure balanced growth.
Six citizens made a final plea Wednesday asking the council not to approve the zoning application seeking to change the property from the General Business District to the Mixed-Use Development District (MxD). Though the public hearing aspect of the zoning process has been completed, city council members held an open discussion with key city employees in an effort to clarify some issues at the center of the public’s opposition to the development.
“We have been studying this for seven years - this is not something that just fell into our lap,” Conyers Mayor Randy Mills said during the meeting. “This is a public opportunity for us to ask questions and drill down on this issue.”
Residents have voiced concerns over the need for such a development in a community with an abundance of vacant stores and empty houses. Other long-reaching concerns include the strain the project will place on the county's dilapidated Almand Branch sewage facility, the increase in traffic along the winding Johnson Road and the overcrowding of schools.
During the meeting, Public Works and Transportation Director Brad Sutton said a Department of Transportation study has identified several areas around the development that will need improvements, one of which will be adding five entrances to the development from Johnson Road. As with upgrades to the county’s sewage system, Four A International will be responsible for funding transportation improvements associated with the development.
Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Rich Autry told the council he had met with Four A developers to discuss the project’s build-out timeline. He said the development has potential to eventually cause overcrowding at Edwards Middle School and Rockdale County High School.
“We have looked at it and we do have some issues with capacity,” Autry said. “It has potential to impact our school system, which is why we want to be as involved as possible. We look at developments and growth much smaller than this ...certainly when you look at growth in one area like this you look at the possibility of redrawing lines.”
Four A developers have been responsive to the public’s concerns and have held meetings with the government entities that will be directly effected by the project. They also held a public information meeting in order to provide more information in hopes of dissolving some of the opposition surrounding the development. They have on many occasions in the last month voiced their intentions to bring a new type of live, work, play community to Conyers that provides a level of living and a lifestyle they say is in high demand but low in supply. City planning officials have spent years working the developers on the design aspect of the project, which is clearly defined in the mixed-use zoning district.
Before considering the rezoning vote again on July 17, council members will be rewording the proposed zoning ordinance to give the city the authority to regulate the development’s building phases and ensure the council is involved in the decision making process.
“This will give us some control and still give the developer flexibility,” Council member Vince Evans said at the close of Wednesday’s meeting. “I want this document to have enough restrictions so that we can have control and still give them the ability to build what they want.”
IN BRIEF: A proposed 308-acre, mixed-use development remains on the drawing board after city officials once again declined to vote on the rezoning request necessary for developers to break ground.
Conyers city council members tabled a decision Wednesday to rezone the property and allow a live, work, play community that aims to build 1,451 residential units and 505,500 square feet of commercial space on the property situated between Iris Drive, Johnson Road and Flat Shoals Road.
The council voted to revisit the Four A International zoning application July 17 meeting.